Masters Golf Koepka (copy)

Brooks Koepka hits his bunker shot to the second green during his practice round for the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Augusta, Ga.

All eyes are on Augusta National as the 85th edition of The Masters tees off Thursday morning in beautiful conditions. One golfer in particular will catch the attention of viewers this week, as a recent knee injury will force Brooks Koepka to read putts in an awkward position (Google it and you’ll see).

Koepka underwent a procedure barely three weeks ago after dislocating his right kneecap and is defying the odds by even showing up for the tournament. In his press conference Sunday, Koepka said, “If I knew I was going to finish second, I wouldn’t have shown up,” and that confidence is no surprise for the four-time major champion. When it comes to the biggest professional golf tournaments each year, Koepka continues to rise to the occasion.

Since the start of 2017, he has played in 13 major championships and finished inside the top 13 in a staggering 10. If it wasn’t for the swirling winds on the 12th hole causing his approach on the par 3 to trickle into Rae’s Creek, Tiger Woods’ historic 2019 green jacket could have been placed on Koepka’s shoulders. So when the sportsbooks across Colorado updated the odds Monday morning for this week’s Masters, there was a staggering outright number for one of the greatest major golfers of his generation.

Paired with Bubba Watson and Viktor Hovland in Group 11, slated to go off Hole 1 at 8:06 a.m. local time, Koepka’s odds to win have settled at +2800 at PointsBet, which is more than double what they were all winter in anticipation of the first major championship of 2021. How his body will hold up over the four days is unknown even as he admits that walking the course will be the most difficult part of his week at Augusta. That said, Koepka seems pleased with how he can still swing.

We are not too far removed from the two best performances he has put together on the PGA Tour over the past two years, which included a second-place finish at the WGC Workday Championship at The Concession and his victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Both performances in February included top-notch iron play and a red-hot putter, which will be crucial for success again.

Buying in to the comments made by Koepka means the outright odds for winning his first green jacket are nowhere near what they would be had he not taken March off to recover from his injury. No one has competed better than Koepka when it matters the most at majors over the last four years, and I expect that to continue this week as we look to see him in Butler’s Cabin on Sunday.

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